Bob Dylan To Release $600 Limited Edition Box Set

dylanboxsetThe years 1965 and 1966 were perhaps the most critical years for the Bob Dylan Mythology, being the time marking his transition from Protest Singer to Cosmic Generational Guru. In a span of only 14 months, between January 1965 and March 1966, Dylan recorded three albums, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. That’s a whole lot of cultural touchstones in a real short period of time.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the albums, and presumably to perform CPR on its flatlining sales department, Sony is issuing a staggering 18-disc box set for the staggering price of $599. The set is said to include “every note” recorded by Dylan during this period, but apparently it doesn’t include the time he whistled at Ann-Margret when she was walking in Capri pants through Washington Square.

I joke, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope to see it under my Christmas tree this year. The Cutting Edge 1965-66: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 Collectors Edition will be limited to 5,000 numbered units worldwide. In addition to the 379 tracks on 18 discs, the package will include a 170 page hardcover book, the original nine mono 45 RPM singles in special sleeves, and a strip of film cells from an original print of the seminal D.A. Pennebaker concert film Don’t Look Back.

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For those of us who aren’t so keen to take out a second mortgage in order to purchase some music, the package comes in smaller versions. There’s a 6-CD set that includes the book for $150, and a simple 2-CD set that goes for $20. Depending on the package, the series includes some never-before heard songs – like “Lunatic Princess” – plus a whole whack of outtakes, rehearsal tracks and alternate versions. All have been remixed from the original tapes, eliminating “unwanted 1960s-era studio processing and artifice.”

You want alternate Dylan versions, you got ‘em. Both the 6-CD as well as the 18-CD versions include an entire CD full of different takes of “Like a Rolling Stone”. The song that really kicked the Rock door open famously took on several forms in the studio before they finally settled on take 4 (out of 15). Some takes were faster, one had a waltz tempo, and one featured piano instead of our colleague Al Kooper’s famous organ riff.

I certainly can’t imagine listening to 15 takes of “Like A Rolling Stone” while driving to the beach. But Rock historians, songwriters, and Dylan fanatics are sure to be fascinated by lifting the curtain on his process for creating these landmark songs. To take note of where he changed a lyric, or added a bridge, is like a glimpse into prehistoric times, kind of like seeing the Rock Era emerging from the primordial ooze of all that came before. That’s gotta be worth 600 bucks, no?

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3 comments to “Bob Dylan To Release $600 Limited Edition Box Set”
  1. It’s good to know that Dylan is still fighting the good fight, catering to the underclass who can only spent $600 bucks on a box set.

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